The world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race is several weeks away still, and yet the building sense of excitement in the air is already palpable. A team of Porsche employees began the paddock build-up process yesterday, while still more will be delegated to setting up guest hospitality at the new on-site Porsche Experience Center, a fan area, etc.
And that’s not even getting into all the technical preparation for the actual race.
The official pre-test for the 24 Hours of Le Mans starts a full two weeks before the actual race, on May 31st. When race day finally does arrive, 120 Porsche team members will be on-hand to tackle everything from monitoring the race cars’ vital signs, to interacting with media and guests. An astonishing 23 people will tend to each of the three cars, forming a total team of 69 highly-skilled engineers and mechanics. According to Porsche, the team positions are as follows:
One race engineer, performance engineer, data engineer, hybrid engineer, engine engineer, systems performance engineer, 12V engineer, software engineer, engine application engineer, gearbox engineer, track aerodynamics engineer, number one mechanic, front axle mechanic, rear axle mechanic, engine mechanic, gearbox mechanic, composite mechanic, electrician, refueller, tyre man, storeman, a mechanic responsible for the air hose and fuel bowser, and one spare “benchwarmer.” Again, for each of the three Porsche LMP1 race cars.
Of all these myriad different team members, only the race engineers are in direct contact with whatever racing drivers are out on the course at any given time. Otherwise, the drivers might find the chatter overwhelming. Overseeing them all is Porsche LMP1 Team Principal Andreas Seidl, who says of the factory team’s 24 Hours of Le Mans preparations: “To coordinate three cars means once again a bigger challenge for all of us. The race in Spa [Francorchamps] gave us a taste of what it takes, but this was only a six-hour event. We have used our 30-hours of testing to play through many eventualities.”
He continued: “However, it is impossible to simulate Le Mans – and without a super professional crew you just cannot stay the course successfully.”